Question: what do you do when your musical heroes call you to play with them this week, but you’re 800 miles away and filled with cold?
Answer: you say yes, of course. Duh.
That’s the position Madrid-based indie band Hinds found themselves in on Sunday, after The Strokes invited the group to join them for a series of hastily-arranged (and not so) secret gigs in Paris, London and Belfast.
“We haven’t really had time to think about it but obviously when you get an offer from The Strokes to open for them you don’t really think, you just do it!” singer and guitarist Ana Perrote says excitedly down the phone ahead of the first gig on Tuesday.
“We’ve been fans forever,” she adds. “When I think about them I just think of [bass player] Ade crying, because they are her proper teenage love.
“We sometimes make the joke that we created Hinds to meet our heroes, and in this case it’s finally happening, so we can quit after this tour!”
It’s been quite a whirlwind week for the four-piece, who only found out they’d been handpicked by the New York indie icons over the weekend. Perrote had been feeling under the weather and was out walking when a message popped up via WhatsApp from their manager.
They then had two days to pack all of their gear, shake off the slight sickness that’s been going around the group, and get themselves on a plane to Paris. Then on to the Eurostar the next day to do it all over again in London.
‘The coolest review’
The Madrileños have tasted the big-time before, playing Glastonbury Festival and opening up for The Libertines.
On New Year’s Eve just gone, they actually went on before The Strokes – on the recommendation of guitarist Albert Hammond Junior – at their one-off hometown NYC gig, and impressed enough to be invited back for an extended run ahead of the release of the US band’s upcoming new album, The New Abnormal.
“The first time we met in New York, they were all super nice,” explains Ana. “It was such a special occasion and they said they loved the show.
“Then the [WhatsApp] text at the weekend was like, ‘Yeah, they [Hinds] were super cool in New York’ – which was literally the hardest and coolest review we will ever get from anyone.
“They made us feel really welcome and for this tour and – I don’t know if I’m supposed to say this – they gave us a little bit of their fee, so we could come on tour because it’s so expensive.”
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In truth, they’d have done it for for free.
Coincidentally, the Spaniards spent a fair bit of time in the Big Apple themselves last year recording their third album The Prettiest Curse – which is released in April.
The record, produced by Jenn Decilveo (Bat for Lashes, The Wombats, Anne-Marie), continues in the same vein as their first two melodic, jangly indie-pop efforts, but this time with a more expansive sound. As their confidence has grown they’ve begun to experiment with different guitar and keyboard sounds, and sprinkle some more authentically Iberian flavours into the mix, to add to their US and UK rock ‘n’ roll references.
“It was cool because for the first time we had time. We’ve been pretty much touring for six years in a row, and with this one we decided to actually stop and really think about it,” says Perrote.
“Everything felt really different and exciting. We worked with different people and there’s different instruments, like keyboards or just more Spanish [lyrically and sonically].
“A third album is supposed to be like that, you know; we’ve already done one thing so we wanted to change and test what we liked and how we are in the studio.
“So it was a more free experience”.
Following Wednesday’s gig at Camden’s Roundhouse, Hinds had to dash straight to the airport in order to catch a flight back to their home city in time to appear on Spanish radio on Thursday morning, as planned.
Then, after a quick siesta, they had to start planning their immediate return to the UK for the finale of The Strokes’ mini-tour at Waterfront Hall in Belfast on Monday evening.
And despite their newfound associations with New York, Perrote says there’s no plans for any of them to relocate from the Spanish capital to chase the American dream full-time.
“Nah, no way,” she says.
“We really like it there and we are definitely going to spend a lot of time there – we already have two shows booked.
“But we’re too Spanish and we love it too much.”
The Prettiest Curse is out on 3 April